The Books of To-day and the Books of To-morrow, November 1904


(Dedicated to the critics who have theories as to the meaning of the doll in
Mr. Pinero’s ‘Wife without a Smile’.)


TELL me no more. Cease dully to explain:
Pray do not strive to make the meaning clear.
Briefly, I’ll take strong measures if I hear
That doll’s significance discussed again.
Tell me no more.

Like Mr. Redford, wholly unaware
Of what would be the public’s coarser views,
He may have meant it solely to amuse,
But, bless my soul, I really do not care.
Tell me no more.

There may have been some double meaning hid.
He may have aped the tone of gay Paree.
He may have meant to shock the great B. P.
What in the name of Fortune if he did?
Tell me no more.

He may have meant the thing to aid his pen
In showing up the public’s dough-like brain:
A trifle in the allegoric vein.
Perhaps he did. But, if he did, what then?
Tell me no more.

Whate’er he meant it matters not a pin.
Ye critics, who have columns ye must fill,
Look for some other target for the quill.
Do try to keep your explanations in.
Tell me no more.



Printed unsigned; entered by Wodehouse in Money Received for Literary Work.


  This poem’s meter and rhyme scheme parody Tennyson’s “Ask me no more” from The Princess.
  The Pinero play, its doll, and the controversy are explained in a recent article in the Guardian.
Mr. Redford: G. A. Redford was Reader of Plays in the Lord Chamberlain’s Office (responsible for dramatic censorship and licensing) at the time.
B. P.: British Public